Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know (AD)

The post is sponsored by Durham BID.

I can’t believe it's already nearly half-term. We are really looking forward to returning to the Fire & Ice festival in Durham City for the third year running next week. It's happening at the end of the school holidays on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February when the historic streets in Durham City will be full of fire and ice. Over the past two years we’ve had lots of fun I think Paddington was our favourite last year and the year before The Griffin Wings or Swallowed. The trail makes a great family friendly trail perfect for getting some outdoor fun - and all for FREE.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice inDurham

Fri 22 & Sat 23 Feb

Everything You Need to Know 

What is Fire & Ice?

FIRE & ICE in Durham is a stunning and spectacular FREE event that sees the City come to life, with an ice sculpture trail lit by flaming beacons weaving its way through the historic streets of Durham. This year it is returning during February half-term.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

What is the theme this year?

Now in its fourth year, the Durham Fire & Ice in 2019 is all about Heroes & Villains. Last year we saw literary characters fill the historic city’s streets, and before that Myths & Legends in 2017 and the first year in 2016 was all about Polar Exploration.

When is it on?

The family festival returns to Durham City on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd February 2019.

Where is it?

You’ll find the Fire & Ice trail in Durham City centre.

What will I find at Fire & Ice?

There will be two fun-packed days at the end of February half-term school holidays with an ice sculpture trail lit by flaming beacons across the City, and the opportunity for visitors to watch live ice carving demonstrations and give the art-form ago too, all under the watchful eye of master ice carvers from Glacial Arts, who worked on the set of smash TV series, Game of Thrones. Each evening of the event, the festivities culminate in a spectacular grand finale in the Market Place with jets of water and shooting flames dancing in time to music, fitting to the theme of the year’s festival.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

How many sculptures make up the trail? 

There will be 10 ice sculptures in total carefully carved by the team at Glacial Arts, which worked on TV show A Games of Thrones and placed around the City seeing the trail lit by flaming beacons.

Here are some of our pictures from previous years!

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

What Heroes & Villains will I see at Fire and Ice in Durham?

In total, the sculptors will bring 5 tonnes of ice to Durham approximately 5000 litres of water to build the following characters for Fire and Ice 2019. The full list of 10 ice sculptures appearing at Fire & Ice InDurham are as follows:

Thanos: Gauntlet in Millennium Place

Thanos is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and has clashed with many heroes including the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.

Grace Darling – The Riverwalk

Grace Darling was a lighthouse keeper’s daughter, famed for participating in the rescue of nine passengers from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838. The paddle steamer ran aground on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland. The brave heroine and her father used a rowing boat in stormy seas for the rescue.

Lego Batman – in the Cloisters at Durham Cathedral

Batman is a superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics and in a number of blockbuster movies. In 2017, the American cult icon was the star of a computer-animated superhero comedy film, based on the Lego Batman toy line.

Maleficent – Framwelgate Bridge

Maleficent is the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil. Based on the evil fairy godmother character in the tale of Sleeping Beauty, she is also the villainess who appears in the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the story. A postmodernist revision of the character appeared as the protagonist in the 2014 live-action film Maleficent.

Darth Vader – North Road

Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise and was the primary antagonist in the original trilogy. He has become one of the most iconic villains in popular culture and has been listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever.

Wonder Woman – Market Place

Wonder Woman is a superhero who was initially created for comic books. The character has since had a hit TV series and blockbuster movie. For several years in the 1950s, the only three superheroes to have their own comic book were Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Firefighter – The Riverwalk

Firefighters, like all emergency service personnel, are real-life heroes, who courageously run towards danger, as most people flee in the opposite direction. 

The Thunderbird – Durham Cathedral

The Thunderbird is a fictional creature that appears in the hit movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The beast is believed to be a close relative to the Phoenix, and although it can create violent storms, it is also highly sensitive to danger. The Thunderbird is recognisable for its three pairs of powerful wings covered with colour changing iridescent feathers.

Bumblebee – Elvet Bridge

From the Transformers world, Bumblebee is one of Optimus Prime’s most trusted lieutenants. Although not the strongest or most powerful of Autobots, he more than makes up for this with a bottomless well of luck, determination and bravery.

Ant & Dec – People Choice winner – Elvet Bridge

This year for the first time organisers Durham BID asked the public to help them pick the final ice sculpture that would complete the line-up of icy installations. They lined up a list of six real-life heroes all hailing from the North East, who have achieved something incredible or have helped to put our corner of the UK on the map over the years for various different reasons. The list of local heroes to choose from included TV personalities Ant and Dec, as well as local lass and Queen of the Jungle, Scarlett Moffatt, and agony aunt Denise Roberts. There’s also sporting heroes hailing from the North East including Alan Shearer, as well as Paralympians Josef Craig and Jade Jones. No surprises with the winners - taking over half of the popular vote were Ant & Dec!

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Where should I go at Fire and Ice?

You’ll find sculptures across the city in Millennium Square & the Market Place, on Elvet Bridge & Framwelgate Bridge, Riverwalk, also on North Road, Saddler Street, Silver Street, and outside of Durham Cathedral on Palace Green. You’ll also find the chocolate ice block at the heart of Prince Bishop Shopping Centre.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

What can I do at Fire and Ice in Durham?

Wander around the city's medieval streets to see the ten different carefully hand-carved ice sculptures depicting some of the nation’s best-loved heroes and villain characters.

Watch the live ice carving demonstrations It’s not just any ice that is on show at Fire and Ice in Durham either. The ice sculptures are being created by Glacial Arts - the creatives behind the ice work in Game of Thrones and you can see their team in action too at the festival. The boys were engrossed last year and we had to keep going back to see how the ice sculptor was getting on! The demonstrations take place between 1pm & 4pm in Market Place.

You can also get involved too. There are blocks of ice to try out ice-carving yourself. Have-a-go carving in Millennium Place between 12.00pm – 5.00pm

See if you can carve the ice to free the chocolate from the frozen block (from 10am in Prince Bishop Shopping Centre). There are 120 chocolate bars in each one! That’s a total of 240 chocolates over the course of the festival! These blocks take four days to create and the sculptors have to position each one in the freezing water by hand.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Is there a Grand Finale to Fire and Ice?

Each evening in the Market Place the festival will end with a spectacular grand finale - a mesmerising 30min multimedia show featuring music, fire, dancing waters, lighting and projection the show - in the Market Place outside of St Nicholas’ Church.

  • 5.00pm - 5.10pm Fire performer in Market Place
  • 5.15pm - 5.25pm Night Time Spectacular in Market Place - a shorter performance more suitable for younger children.
  • 5.45pm - 5.55pm Fire performer in Market Place
  • 6.00pm - 6.15pm Night Time Spectacular in Market Place – this second show that is more suitable for adults and older children - as some effects used may be frightening to younger ones.
  • 6.15pm - Fire&Ice InDurham closes

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

What is the best time to go to Fire and Ice?

The ice sculptures are unveiled at 10 am on Friday 22 February and Saturday 23 February. Obviously, the sculptures are open to the elements, so they’re in the best condition in the morning, as the rate at which they melt varies massively upon the weather. Two years ago they had melted a lot by Saturday afternoon due to windy weather. However, there is plenty to do right up until the Grand Finale. The forecast this year is currently fine and dry.

Fire & Ice - Durham City 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

How Do I Get to Fire and Ice in Durham?

Durham City is served by three Park and Ride sites on the key routes into the city. These are situated at Belmont, Sniperley and Howlands. A direct bus service runs every 10 minutes to the city centre from each site. For only £2 per person, you can park until 7.00pm, get unlimited travel on the park and ride buses for the day and even use the Cathedral Bus for free. Under 16s are free if they're accompanied by an adult over 21. The Park and Ride services are free after 9.30am on Friday and all day Saturday for concessionary bus pass holders.

There is also a train station with regular services to Newcastle, Chester le Street and Darlington. There are regular buses and also plenty of city centre parking too.

Food & Drink in Durham

There are lots of places to eat and drink in Durham read our reviews of:

The Collage - Radisson Hotel, 
The Bishop's Mill, Wetherspoons,
Fat Hippo.

What else is there to do in Durham?

Why not extend your day by enjoying the circular walk around Durham Riverside or visit Open Treasure at Durham Cathedral. You'll find lots more ideas from This is Durham. And if you are looking to stay the Radisson Hotel in Durham has some great family rooms to stay im.


Are there any deals on Durham during Fire and Ice?

Pick up a Fire & Ice leaflet for your temporary InDurham loyalty card from Durham BID. There are lots of special offers and discounts available to inDurham Loyalty Card holders. There is a wide range of discounts available from the participating Durham businesses ranging from food and drink, retail, hair and beauty and other services. Then if you want to continue to get these deals an InDurham Loyalty Card costs £5 for 12 months’ worth of discounts.

As with any outdoor event do keep checking for up-to-date information on the DurhamBID website, by following Durham BID on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Where will you be heading to during half-term?

Deb x

To be kept up to date with events, new openings, recipes, things to do and child-friendly places to take the kids, plus giveaways then follow My Boys Club on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter too.


  1. This looks and sounds so good!
    Just forwarded to the husband to see if he fancies it. Sure our 5 year old would love it and we've been wanting a Durham visit. :)


    1. Thanks and hope you enjoyed your visit if you made it along.

  2. Handy information for anyone planning a visit.